PERRY HALL, Md. (WJZ) — Since the unexpected death of Kevin Kamenetz, two men have been vying for Baltimore County’s top spot.
Democratic candidate Johnny Olszewski squeaked by in a tough primary, winning by less than 20 votes, and Republican candidate Al Redmer is vying to be the first Republican leader in the spot in over 20 years.
Olesweski voted in Dundalk, his hometown, Tuesday morning. He spent the day campaigning across Baltimore County, where the 36-year-old hopes to become the next Baltimore County executive.
Olesweski won the primary for Baltimore County executive by 17 votes, a race that wasn’t officially decided until the results of a recount almost three weeks after the election.
“We take no vote for granted and we have no idea what the results gonna be, we’re encouraged by the enthusiasm and the energy we’re seeing but we just don’t take any vote for granted so we’re gonna run like we’re 20 points down,” Olesweski said.
Known as Johnny O, his political career started as a student member of the school board, he served in the House of Delegates for nine years and is making a comeback after losing a state senate race in 2014.
Current Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler is backing Olesweski to succeed him.
“There aren’t Republican schools and Democratic schools, there aren’t Republican potholes and Democratic potholes, in local government you come together you work across the aisles to get things done,” Mohler said. “That’s what Johnny’s gonna do,”
Olesweski has rained more than $2 million in his campaign.
However, Baltimore County could have its first Republican leader in more than two decades, provided on which way voters come out to vote for Baltimore County executive.
Republican candidate Al Redmer will wait on the polls to close in Baltimore County, where he grew up in Perry Hall, and where he hopes to celebrate a win this election night.
Armed with bright yellow flyers, there is a final push to win the top office in a blue county.
Redmer is seeking Baltimore County’s executive seat, and if the votes go his way, he would be the first Republican in 24 years to hold the title.
“I’ve got the background, the experience and the skill set to step in to immediately get to work and solve some of these problems in a methodical, business-like way,” Redmer said.
Redmer has campaigned on that experience, including 13 years as a state delegate, and two appointments to serve as Maryland’s insurance commissioner.
He said he can solve key issues in the county, like deteriorating schools, crime, and traffic congestion, without raising taxes, promising “common sense solutions”.
A line often used by his longtime friend and political ally, Gov. Larry Hogan.
“Like the governor, I’ve been able to avoid partisan battles throughout my career in search of common sense solutions,” Redmer said.
Now, whether or not he brings those solutions to Baltimore County is up to voters.
He said he thinks people will vote the issues not the party line, and that it will work in his favor.